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  TSLMail #366- January 23, 2009    
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 Tech Sports News

Stats Don't Tell the Story for Hokie Hoops
by Chris Coleman,

A quick look at the ACC stats (conference games only) does not indicate that Virginia Tech would be the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament, if the season ended today. Yet that's exactly where the Hokies are. They aren't lighting the ACC up statistically, but they are managing to pull out games late in the second half, as they've generally done throughout Seth Greenberg's tenure.

We averaged the statistical rankings of 10 different categories for each ACC team. The categories are: scoring offense, scoring defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, three-point percentage, three-point percentage defense, free throw percentage, rebounding margin, assist-to-turnover ration and turnover margin.

As you can see, the stats don't necessarily matchup with where each team currently sits in the conference standings.

Stats Don't Mean Everything
Team Average Stat Ranking Conference
UNC 3.9 T-4
Duke 4.3 1
Wake 4.6 T-2
Maryland 5.8 T-6
Boston College 6.6 9
FSU 6.7 T-6
Miami 7 T-4
Virginia Tech 7.1 T-2
Clemson 7.1 T-6
Georgia Tech 7.4 12
Virginia 7.8 T-10
NC State 9.3 T-10

Of the three teams with one or fewer conference losses (Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech), the Hokies are the lowest ranked team statistically. The Hokies only average a ranking of 7.1 in the ACC in the 10 statistical categories, while Duke and Wake are among the top three teams in the league statistically.

In fact, the Blue Devils rank first in the conference in four of the 10 categories. Wake ranks first or second in four of the 10. In stark contrast, Virginia Tech only ranks in the top half of the league in four categories. Tech's best mark is field goal percentage, where they rank second in the ACC behind Wake Forest.

If you consider that the Hokies have been middle-of-the-pack statistically, or maybe a little lower than that, then at this point you have to consider them the most overachieving team in the ACC. By contrast, UNC is dominating the conference statistically, but they have lost two games in the final minutes to Boston College and Wake Forest.

That's where the toughness that Seth Greenberg talks about every day comes into play. North Carolina is used to blowing teams out, and on the two occasions they've been involved in a close game in the final minutes, they've faltered. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech was in a number of close games in the out-of-conference portion of their schedule. Though they didn't do well in those games, the experience paid off in ACC play.

In Tech's three victories over Virginia, Boston College and Wake Forest, the Hokies have led by single digits in the final minutes, and they've been able to outfight all three opponents for the victory. In the end, the only statistic that matters is the ACC standings, where Tech is currently tied for second place, and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wake Forest.

As good as the start to ACC play has been, the Hokies still have a long way to go if they want their reach their goal. Tech has seven games remaining against Top 50 opponents, and they need to grab a few more key wins.

Virginia Tech's Top 50
Opponents Remaining
Date Opponent RPI
Jan. 25 at Miami 28
Jan. 29 Clemson 9
Feb. 21 FSU 20
Feb. 25 at Clemson 9
Feb. 28 Duke 1
Mar. 4 UNC 5
Mar. 8 at Florida State 20

There are certainly plenty of opportunities for success. Boston College is also #59 in the current RPI, and the Eagles have the potential to finish in the Top 50 at the end of the season. Last year Tech was left out of the NCAA tournament because they only beat one Top 50 team, and that didn't happen until the ACC Tournament. This year they have already knocked off a Top 50 team, and they have many opportunities to beat more.

It won't be easy, however. The stretch from February 21 through March 8 is perhaps the most difficult five-game stretch in Tech history. The Hokies have to play three Top 10 RPI teams in a row, and those three games are boxed in between games against #20 Florida State. That's going to be a tough stretch, but that's what ACC basketball is all about. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami

January 23, 2009
Fresh off a huge win at #1 Wake Forest, the Hokies have another tough road game on Sunday against Miami. The Hurricanes are a very good team that appears set to make the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. Miami also features one of the top players in the ACC in Jack McClinton. Tech will have to bring their A-Game yet again.

2008 Recruiting Class Update: Defense
January 23, 2009
Earlier this week we took a look at the progression of Virginia Tech's 2008 offensive recruits. Today we'll look at the players who signed to be a part of Bud Foster's defense. We've already seen a few of them on the field, and we hear good things about some other young players who took a redshirt in 2008.

Williams Reflects on Senior Season
January 22, 2009
Jerrodd Williams' interception return for a touchdown sealed a 24-16 victory for the South Carolina squad in the 2008 edition of the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl. Making big plays is nothing new for the 6-1, 185-pound prospect, who starred at cornerback and on special teams at Daniel High School (Central, S.C.).

Tough Hokies Add Wake to Their List
January 22, 2009
You've got to give Seth Greenberg one thing: he sure knows how to get his Hokies to play well against #1 teams. In the last three seasons, his Hokie teams have accumulated more wins over #1 teams (2) than in the first 98 seasons of Hokie basketball (1). With last night's win over #1 Wake Forest, the 2008-09 Hokies notched the marquee win they needed to get a middling season back on track.

Down Goes Wake! Hokies Knock Out #1 Demon Deacons 78-71
January 21, 2009
For most of the year, Virginia Tech didn't look like a team that had what it takes to go on the road and beat the #1 team in the country. However, on Wednesday night they did just that. The Hokies led by as many as 16 points, trailed just once, and held on down the stretch to defeat top-ranked Wake Forest 78-71 in Winston-Salem on Wednesday night. Tech is now 13-5 on the season, with a 3-1 record in ACC play. Wake dropped to 16-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC with the loss.

2008 Recruiting Class Update: Offense
January 21, 2009
Virginia Tech signed a very large class in 2008, and the numbers were basically split evenly between offensive players and defensive players. Since most of these recruits have now spent a semester in the program, it's time to revisit the 2008 class and see where each player stands heading into spring practice. Today, we'll cover the offensive recruits.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at #1 Wake Forest
January 21, 2009
The Hokies will face their biggest challenge of the season on Wednesday night when they travel to Winston-Salem to take on #1 Wake Forest. Though it will be a significant challenge, it also represents a great opportunity. A road win over a team as highly regarded as the Demon Deacons would be something good to put in front of the Selection Committee in March.

Postseason Q&A with Theron Norman
January 21, 2009
One of the more versatile recruits in Tech's 2009 recruiting class, Hermitage (Richmond, VA) star Theron Norman showed off his toughness as a senior, playing through a hamstring injury in helping the Panthers to a district championship. The 6-3, 192-pound prospect, a potential free safety or wide receiver on the next level, took time for a "Postseason Q&A" to discuss this past season and much more.

Photo Gallery: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
January 20, 2009
Virginia Tech knocked off Boston College 79-71 in a big ACC game in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday. Today we bring you 62 photos from the game, during which Jeff Allen set a new career-high in scoring with 30 points.

Ocean Lakes' Impressive 2010 Class
January 20, 2009
Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) wide receiver Justin Hunter has quickly become one of the most highly recruited prospects in the state of Virginia's 2010 recruiting class. The 6-4, 190-pound junior boasts double-digit Division 1A scholarship offers according to Dolphins head coach Chris Scott, and much more are likely on the way.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/19/09
January 20, 2009
On last night's Hokie Hotline, Seth Greenberg talked about the win over Boston College, and the upcoming challenge of facing the #1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Wednesday night.

Moses Talks Recent Visit, Recruiting
January 19, 2009
Meadowbrook (Richmond, VA) star Morgan Moses has now taken three official visits, leaving two remaining official visits should he decide to use them. The 6-7, 340-pound prospect admits he is "ready to have [the recruiting process over with]," but at this point he isn't sure when a decision could come.

Around the ACC: January 19th, 2009
January 19, 2009
Last week at this time, there were just three undefeated teams in college basketball, and two of them were ACC teams. This week, only one team remains undefeated. #1 Pittsburgh lost over the weekend, and #3 Wake Forest knocked off #9 Clemson on the road in the weekend's biggest ACC game.

Is Bolling Nearing a Decision?
January 19, 2009
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) standout offensive/defensive lineman Devin Bolling had originally planned to make an official visit to Virginia Tech this coming weekend, but at this time that no longer appears likely. The 6-5, 270-pound senior may now travel to Blacksburg on January 30th, or he may decide he has all the information he needs to make a decision among Connecticut, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Behind Allen, Tech Knocks off Boston College
January 17, 2009
Virginia Tech got a huge 79-71 victory over visiting Boston College in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon behind the play of Jeff Allen. The Hokies improved to 12-5 overall and 2-1 in the ACC with the win. BC dropped to 13-6, with a 1-3 mark in conference play. This was the Eagles' fourth straight loss since upsetting then #1 UNC on January 4.
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